Five minutes with: Fran Kirby
Cast your mind back to Nike’s new season launch - along with the much-talked-about cameo heavy LDNR ad campaign – which took over our Instagram feed last month. There was the excellent reveal of Nigeria’s must-have kit, Rashford looking dashing in England’s new threads (I’m in the campaign too btw), our friends & collaborators Romance FC uncovering a pastel dream of a jersey and some fascinating talks with ex-Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director Kim Jones and Off-White’s Virgil Abloh. Neymar, Alexis Sanchez, Eden Hazard, Lieke Martens and more turned up right at the end to introduce the 20th anniversary editions of Nike's Mercurial boots. Another highlight for me was catching up Chelsea and Lionesses star Fran Kirby.
ON THE PITCH
Was being a footballer an inevitable career choice for you or would you have done something else?
When I was younger I didn’t really ever think it would be a career. There wasn’t any professional teams when I was growing up so I never really thought I’d be able to do it. But as I got older, I think football was the only option. I used to do judo but stopped that because I wanted to take up football and that was the only career path I was set on from about 13/14 years old.
What are the biggest obstacles and challenges you’ve faced and how did you overcome them?
I think the biggest one for any sports person is injury. I’ve had my fair share in my career and just trying to motivate yourself every day to get out of bed and go and do your rehab. You have longer days than people who are actually in training. Some of my days were probably from 8 o’clock in the morning to 8 o’clock at night trying to get fit.
What’s been the highlight of your season so far?
Overall being fit enough to play every single game. For me, it was an off season last year with my injury and now it was just about getting back on the pitch, playing consecutively and scoring goals. Which is what I’m there to do.
Which would you prefer this season: a cup win or finishing in the top 4?
Ultimately you want to win a trophy. A lot of people would see that as a success, although finishing in the top half of the table is always nice as well. It’s just that sense of winning something and having something to your name.
Which team do you support as a fan and why?
Obviously I support Chelsea and I like them to do well. When I was growing up, I always supported Arsenal because of Thierry Henry. I always liked to watch him.
How do you think women’s football can gain parity with the men’s game?
It’s all about the media coverage. I think the men’s game has gone on in leaps and bounds with all the media that surrounds it in every country. I could go somewhere else and watch every single Premier League game. I think it’s just the increase in media, the increase in people playing the game- every year it’s getting bigger. But ultimately everything is driven by the media now so that would be the biggest stepping stone.
What are your thoughts on the new England kit?
I think it’s nice. They have the right balance between it being too fitted and being too heavy. Obviously the colours speak for themselves, there’s always going to be white and red but ultimately I think it’s really good. It looks really nice on and comfortable. Looking forward to wearing it.
And finally, what’s your prediction of the England Men in the World Cup?
We’ll get to the semi-finals- we’ve got a good enough team to do that. Hopefully we can go all the way, win it and surprise a few teams while we’re there.
OFF THE PITCH
What is your favourite thing to do off the pitch?
Normal life! Going out for food, going out with a friend, chilling out. I like to do a bit of everything - I’m quite social, I like to get the girls round and make some dinner. I do like cooking.
What’s your signature dish?
I do make some nice enchiladas. I don’t think there’s any secret trick, I think it’s just follow what’s on the box!
Breakdown your style in three words.
Oversized, bit-of-everything and trainers.
What’s in your handbag?
Makeup, my phone, money. A very very limited amount.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Words Felicia Pennant